|Publication number||US7178776 B2|
|Application number||US 10/943,999|
|Publication date||Feb 20, 2007|
|Filing date||Sep 20, 2004|
|Priority date||Jul 10, 2001|
|Also published as||US6892594, US7007564, US20030066366, US20050029416, US20050039552|
|Publication number||10943999, 943999, US 7178776 B2, US 7178776B2, US-B2-7178776, US7178776 B2, US7178776B2|
|Inventors||Bernd Buck, Franz Sauter, Berthold Schocker|
|Original Assignee||Ifm Electronic Gmbh|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (28), Referenced by (14), Classifications (19), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
The invention relates to a mounting device for sensors, especially contactlessly-operating, cylindrical or cuboidal proximity switches, with a cylindrical or cuboidal recess to hold the proximity switch.
2. Description of Related Art
Proximity switches, because of their contactless mode of operation, have continuous almost ideal prerequisites for industrial use. They work without wear, enable high operating frequencies and operating accuracy and are invulnerable to vibrations, dust and moisture. For this reason proximity switches are being used in the millions and have proven their reliability in all areas for decades. Proximity switches are often used as limit switches for control of machinery. Depending on the application, inductive, capacitive, optical or optoelectronic proximity switches can be used as proximity switches.
Some of the proximity switches available in practice have a cylindrical structural shape, the housing of the proximity switch having an outside thread. This proximity switch is mounted by screwing the proximity switch into a corresponding threaded hole. When the proximity switch is adjusted, i.e., it has reached its intended position, it is fixed by means of at least one nut in the threaded hole. If the proximity switch must be replaced due to a defect, the newly inserted proximity switch must be readjusted in a complex manner, for which specialists are necessary, which in turn leads to significant downtime of the machine controlled by such a proximity switch.
To solve this problem, the use is known of a stop sleeve into which a proximity switch of conventional design is inserted. Readjustment is no longer necessary when the proximity switch is changed due to the fixed stop made on the stop sleeve. One such mounting device is known, for example, from German Utility Model DE 88 05 837. In this mounting device, the proximity switch is inserted into a receiving sleeve which is provided with an outside thread and is attached by means of a union nut.
German Patent DE 196 41 137 discloses a stop sleeve into which the proximity switch is inserted, the stop sleeve having a slotted end area into which an annular fixing element insert, having crosspieces that extend in the axial direction, can be inserted. By moving this fixing element into the slotted area of the stop sleeve the crosspieces are pressed to the inside, and the proximity switch is secured.
In addition, clamp-like holders for mounting of cylindrical proximity switches are known. These clamp-like holders have two separate clips which are drawn together by means of screws, after inserting the proximity switch, which thus fixes the proximity switch.
The known approaches for proximity switches which require the use of a stop sleeve have the principal disadvantage that they are suitable only for fixing cylindrical proximity switches. In addition, production of stop sleeves, having an outside thread and preferably having only a very small wall thickness while nevertheless being of high strength, is relatively complex and thus expensive.
It is common to all approaches that the final fixing of the proximity switch takes place by means of screws or union nuts so that the mounting device has several parts which can be lost, and requires the use of tools for fixing the proximity switch in position so that the replacement of a proximity switch is time-consuming. In addition, secure fixing of the proximity switch in no small degree depends on the screws or the union nuts being carefully tightened by the installer.
German Patent DE 199 00 876 discloses a mounting device for proximity switches which has a base body which in its top has a pivotally mounted fixing body with a clamp element.
Fixing of a proximity switch that has been inserted into the recess of the base body takes place by swiveling the fixing body which secures the proximity switch by way of the clamp element. With this mounting device, the fixing of the proximity switch without a tool is possible, however, the mounting device is relatively complex to produce due to the required swiveling support of the fixing body.
A primary object of this invention is to provide a mounting device for cylindrical and cuboidal proximity switches which enables quick and simple replacement of the proximity switch and has a simple construction.
The mounting device of the invention is characterized by a first embodiment in which the mounting device has at least one through-pocket into which an actuating means can fit, has a recess where the pocket or pockets are connected to one another such that the recess, in the relieved state of the mounting device, has a smaller diameter or smaller dimensions than the proximity switch to be mounted. The recess can be spread by the actuating means fitting into the pocket.
According to a second embodiment of the invention, the aforementioned object is achieved by a mounting device having two spring legs and two clamp ends, the spring legs passing into the clamp ends and in the relieved state of the mounting device the recess having a smaller diameter or smaller dimensions than the proximity switch which is to be mounted. The recess can be spread by pressing together the clamp ends or the spring legs can be spread apart by pressing the clamp ends together.
According to a third embodiment of the invention, a mounting device is disclosed which has at least two legs which are elastically connected to one another, in each leg a cylindrical or cuboidal recess is formed which is capable of holding the proximity switch. In a first state of the mounting device, the sensor is held in the mounting device such that the legs are aligned at an acute angle to one another. While in the second state of the mounting device, in which the sensor can be inserted into the mounting device or removed from it, the legs are aligned to one another at a smaller angle, i.e., essentially parallel, and the legs can be shifted from the first state into the second state against the spring force of the mounting device.
In the mounting device of the invention, neither a separately fabricated fixing body nor screws are necessary for attachment of the proximity switch. The proximity switch is fixed simply by clamping the proximity switch in the recess of the mounting device. In the mounting device according to the first two alternatives of the invention, during spreading the recess by an actuating means or by hand and for subsequent clamping of the proximity switch, the spring properties of the mounting device will be used. The mounting device is thus suited for proximity switches with and without an outside thread; while the mounting device is intended, preferably, for cylindrical proximity switches, but the mounting device of the invention can also be used for cuboidal proximity switches with a structuring of the recess.
In the first embodiment of the invention, a recess and a pocket in the mounting device are formed so that the recess and the pocket are connected to one another and legs that are elastic within certain limits are formed. In the mounting device according to the second embodiment of the invention, the recess is formed by two spring legs which are constructed such that the recess, when in the relieved state, has a smaller diameter or smaller dimensions that the proximity switch which is to be attached.
The recess can be spread by hand, or if necessary, spread using an actuating means or a tool. The proximity switch when inside the spread state of the recess of the mounting device is freely movable and thus easily adjustable. The proximity switch can be fixed by simple re-actuation, i.e., locked, such that secure fixing of the switch is always ensured regardless of the care taken by the installer. The proximity switch is fixed simply via the spring force of the mounting device, that is, as soon as the actuating means is removed from the recess or the clamp ends are released.
In the mounting device according to the third embodiment of the invention, the proximity switch is similarly fixed by clamping the proximity switch in the recesses which formed in the two legs. But clamping takes place, not by spreading the recesses, but by changing the location of the recesses relative to the lengthwise axis of the proximity switch to be mounted. The change in the location of the recesses is thus automatically caused by the spring action of the mounting device as soon as the two legs are no longer held against the spring force of the mounting device in the second state.
According to one advantageous embodiment of the invention, the mounting device has a base part in which there is at least one hole, preferably two or four holes. The base part which can be made for example as a base plate is used to fix the mounting device on a vessel wall or the side wall of a machine.
In the specific configuration of the mounting device according to the first embodiment of the invention there are a number of variations, some of which will be detailed by way of example. Basically, there are several options available for the mounting device such as placing the pocket between the base part and the recess or placing the recess between the base part and the pocket. The arrangement of the recess and the pocket can thus be changed relative to the base part depending on the particular construction of the actuating device.
In particular, when the pocket is located between the base part and the recess, according to one preferred embodiment of the invention, another opening is formed between the base part and the pocket. This opening makes it possible to adjust the clamping force of the mounting device and the force which is necessary to spread the recess. The force which is necessary for spreading the recess using the actuating means can be further reduced by the recess or the pocket being open on one side. Additionally, the pocket can be located as far as possible from the recess in order to be able to use a lever arm which is as large as possible.
According to another embodiment of the invention, the recess on the face has a stop. Using this stop, readjustment is no longer necessary when the proximity switch is replaced. Depending on the material used for the mounting device and depending on what type of proximity switch is used, the stop can be made solid or annular.
According to an advantageous approach to the second embodiment of the invention, the clamp ends are made such that they overlap one another and project roughly vertically from spring legs such that one spring leg, in the transition area to its clamp end, has an elongated recess for holding the correspondingly narrower other clamp end.
In the specific embodiment of the mounting device according to the second embodiment of the invention, there are also a host of variations some of which will be detailed by way of example together with the drawings. The individual mounting devices differ especially by the execution of the spring legs and the clamp ends. The spring legs can be made essentially symmetrical to one another so that each spring leg is made roughly hemispherical. But likewise one spring leg can also have a larger arc periphery or the two spring legs can pass entirely into one another so that functionally there are only two spring legs.
Just as in the mounting device according to the first embodiment, in the mounting device of the second embodiment has a recess that can be made open on one side. In this case, the two spring legs, which together form the recess, do not yield a solid circular periphery, but surround the inserted proximity switch like pincers. The advantage of the recess open on one side is that the force needed to spread the recess, i.e. to press the spring legs apart, is reduced.
In the mounting device of the third embodiment of the invention, a spine is positioned between the two legs which connects the legs so that the mounting device is made in roughly a U-shape. The spine can then be used to fix the mounting device on the wall of a vessel or housing, for which the spine has at least one hole, and preferably two or four holes. By the corresponding choice of the length of the spine, a mounting device can also be formed which is optimally matched to the correspondingly length of the proximity switch to be mounted.
In an alternative approach of the mounting device of the third embodiment of the invention, the two legs are directly joined to one another so that the mounting device is made roughly V-shaped. In order to be able to fix such a mounting device on the wall of a vessel or housing, a mounting leg, angled at roughly 90°, is mounted on the end of a leg. In this mounting leg several corresponding holes are provided for fixing the mounting device.
The mounting device of the invention is fabricated one piece so that individual parts cannot be lost when the proximity switch is fixed. Preferably, the mounting device is made not only one-piece, but also integral. The one-piece fabrication of the mounting device is defined within the framework of the invention as a mounting device which cannot be easily broken down in several parts. The integral mounting device is defined as a mounting device which in fact is composed of only one part which cannot easily be broken down into several part, as is possible in the one-piece mounting device, i.e., welded together from two pieces. The integral formation of the mounting device makes it possible to produce it easily and economically.
In particular, there are a host of possibilities for embodying and developing the mounting device of the invention. To more fully appreciate the various embodiments of the invention reference is made to the description of preferred embodiments in conjunction with the drawings.
The mounting devices 1 shown in
The mounting devices 1 shown in
All the mounting devices 1 shown in
For the mounting device 1, the proximity switch is always fixed by clamping it in the recess 2. Preferably, the mounting device 1 is made integral, but it can also be made in one piece, according to the embodiments as shown in
In the mounting devices 1 shown in
In the embodiments as shown in
In the embodiment shown in
Like all the mounting devices 1 shown in the
In the mounting devices 1 shown in
With this specific configuration of the clamp ends 21, 22 and overlapping area of the two spring legs 19, 20, the distance 24 between the two clamp ends 21, 22 in the relieved state of the spring legs 19, 20 can be fixed, while, the ability of the diameter 5 of the recess 2 to expand beyond the elastic limit when the clamp ends 21, 22 are pressed together can be prevented. It is apparent from
The mounting devices 1 shown in
The two mounting devices 1, as shown in
The mounting device 1 as shown in
Just as in the mounting device 1 as shown in
The two mounting devices 1 as shown in
The mounting devices 1 have two legs 27, 28 which are elastically connected to one another and which are connected to one another via a spine 29 in the versions as shown in
In order to insert the proximity switch 26 into the mounting device 1 or remove it from the mounting device 1, the two legs 27, 28 must be compressed against their spring force such that they are aligned essentially parallel to one another. Conversely, clamping of the proximity switch 26 into the mounting device 1 or recesses 2 takes place by the spring legs 27, 28 as a result of the spring force of the mounting device 1 springing back out of their forced parallel position into the position in which the legs 27, 28 are aligned at an acute angle to one another. The proximity switch 26 is fixed in the mounting device 1 thus by the combination of the spring action of the legs 27, 31 and the adjustment angle 31 of the legs 27, 28, where the adjustment angle 31 is measured to the vertical 32. The adjustment angle 31 is generally between 10° and 30°, preferably roughly 15°, so that the angle between the two legs 27, 28 is between 20° and 60°, preferably roughly 30°.
In the mounting device 1 as shown in
In contrast, in the mounting device 1 as shown in
So that in a mounting device 1 which does not have a spine 29 for connecting the two legs 27, 28, forces can be accommodated in the two lengthwise directions 33, 34, according to
A third leg 35 can also be formed in the U-shaped mounting device 1 as shown in
The mounting device 1 of the invention can be produced from metal or plastic. Preferably, the mounting device 1 is composed of steel, particularly high quality steel, or a lightweight metal, particularly aluminum or an aluminum alloy. In this way, a mounting device 1 can be made which is very durable and thus can used under severe ambient conditions. The mounting device 1 can be very easily and economically formed by rolling from steel strip and/or by bending with the corresponding shaping tools. In addition, several casting methods are possible for producing the mounting device 1 of the invention, for example die-casting or continuous casting.
Overall there are a host of possible embodiments of the mounting device 1 of the invention which go beyond the embodiments shown. The respective mounting device 1 can thus be optimally adapted in its external configuration depending on the application. The proximity switch can always be quickly and easily fixed in the mounting device 1, and a uniform clamping force is ensured by the corresponding choice of the material and the stress on the mounting device 1 when the recess 2 is spread within its elastic range.
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|U.S. Classification||248/300, 174/541, 73/866.5, 248/316.7|
|International Classification||A47H1/10, F16L3/10, F16L3/13, F16L3/12, F16L3/123|
|Cooperative Classification||F16L3/123, F16L3/12, G01D11/30, F16L3/13, F16L3/1008|
|European Classification||G01D11/30, F16L3/12, F16L3/13, F16L3/123, F16L3/10B|
|Aug 16, 2010||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Oct 3, 2014||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Feb 20, 2015||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Apr 14, 2015||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20150220